A Watford development side were held to a goalless draw at Wealdstone tonight in front of the club’s owner Gino Pozzo and head coach Beppe Sannino.
Watford named eight professionals in a 4-3-3 formation and also French midfielder and trialist Kevin Tapoko, who is a 20-year-old who plays for Belgian Second Division side Dessel Sport.
Jonathan Bond was in goal for the Golden Boys behind a back four of scholar Alfie Young, Jorell Johnson, Reece Brown and Josh Doherty.
Luke O’Nien was in the holding role in a midfielder trio which included Connor Smith and Tapoko. Alex Jakubiak was at the top of the attacking trio, with Diego Fabbrini and scholar Tom Rosenthal either side.
Whilst veteran striker Scott McGleish led the line for Wealdstone, who had former Hornets Jonathan North and Elliott Godfrey in their line-up.
The Stones were playing the better football early on and Johnson, who was captaining Watford, was caught out of position when Scott McGleish was able to lift the ball narrowly over the bar.
The home side also created another couple of good opportunities following slick moves but on both occasions they failed to capitalise with mishit shots.
Fabbrini went off injured after around ten minutes but was back on following eight minutes of treatment.
Watford struggled to create much of note in the first half but when they did it was Tom Rosenthal who looked one of the most likely to create.
He crossed for Smith, who was unable to direct goalwards when offside, forced ex-Watford goalkeeper Jonathan North into a routine save and also struck a powerful effort just over the bar from around 20 yards out.
Both teams went close with free-kicks. The Stones’ Jack Mills tried to catch out Bond with a well-struck effort and O’Nien’s shot went over the wall but wide of the post, with North rooted to the spot.
Scott McGleish also forced Bond to save from outside the area with a snapshot but like the free-kick, it was relatively comfortable.
There were few chances early into the second period but then Wealdstone had a penalty appeal turned away following O’Nien’s tackle on Tom Collins, moments before Tom Hamblin had a header go over the bar from a corner.
The Golden Boys’ first opening came when the ball ran kindly for Jakubiak after Fabbrini’s dribble and whilst the ball went over North, it was cleared from close to the line.
The Hornets were controlling the possession much better in the second period but the Stones were defending well.
Jakubiak was Watford’s brightest spark in the second half. The striker did well to create space before smashing a powerful effort over and wide and the first-year professional also tested North with a low shot which was well held.
Watford substitute Mahlondo Martin had an excellent run and shot from distance and moments later Jakubiak fluffed the chance to score when the ball was laid back by Dennon Lewis.
Wealdstone: North (Carter 77); Mills, Hamblin (Parker 64), Cronin, Okimo; Godfrey (McCluskey HT), Martin (Hickey 35); Wright (Hammond 64), Collins, Pidgen (Bentley 75); McGleish (Malcolm).
Subs not used: Turner, Little.
Watford: Bond; Young, Johnson, Brown, Doherty (Martin 64); Smith (Stewart 71), O'Nien, Tapoko (Lewis 79); Rosenthal, Jakubiak, Fabbrini (Folivi 70).
Subs not used: Rowley, Hall, Choi.